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Can Daniel Jacobs come back from the loss to Pirog?

Daniel Jacobs Dmitry PirogBy Jason Kim: It may have been a really humiliating experience for Daniel Jacobs (20-1, 17 KO’s) to be viciously knocked out by Russian Dmitry Pirog (17-0, 14 KO’s) in the 5th round last Saturday night, but it’s only one loss. Jacobs, 23, is young enough and talented enough to learn from this defeat, improve and get beyond it to have a successful career. Anyone in the middleweight division could have been knocked out by the right hand that Pirog hit Jacobs with. And what made it even harder was that Jacobs didn’t even see the shot coming, because he was backed up against the ropes, bouncing and in the process of trying to land a right hand of his own.

Unfortunately for Jacobs, Pirog’s shot got there first and landed right on Jacob’s chin, causing to fold crumple down to the canvas. Jacobs looked like he was fighting at half speed after hitting Pirog with a left hand low and receiving a warning from the referee. It seemed like Jacobs wasn’t prepared for Pirog to be fighting with as much energy as he was.

However, Pirog upped his pace in the 5th round, and was both throwing more punches and loading up on them much more than he did in the four prior rounds. This might have had something to do with Pirog not looking that great in the 3rd and 4th rounds. Pirog came out looking like he wanted to make up for those rounds.

I have no doubt in my mind that Golden Boy Promotions, Jacobs’ promoters, will handle him with care for the time being, putting him back in with another six to ten soft opponents before testing him again. Part of the problem for Jacobs is that before Saturday night’s loss to Pirog, he had been matched against mostly 2nd and 3rd tier opposition.

In the one fight where Jacobs was put in with a halfway decent fighter in Ishe Smith, Jacobs struggled badly, getting staggered by the light hitting Smith and barely doing enough to get a 10 round decision. Having seen that fight, I had a strong feeling that Jacobs would either get knocked out or would end up losing a wide decision to Pirog.

Jacobs may have okay offensive skills, but defensively he’s horrible, and he has a bad tendency to retreat backwards in a straight line when attacked, which is what he did against Pirog before getting knocked out. Besides his poor defense, Jacobs paws with his jabs and loads up too much.

And Jacob’s power isn’t all that great. Smith and Pirog were actually harder punchers than Jacobs. Earlier in his career, Jacobs was considered a knockout artist, but that was only because of the horrible opponents that he had been pitted against. ESPN analyst Teddy Atlas was one of the first to nice, besides me, that Jacobs really wasn’t a big puncher. Few people believed Jacobs until he fought Smith and then started to realize that Jacobs wasn’t the huge puncher than people had originally thought.

Jacobs is going to have a tough time if he wants to go after Pirog in the future. The top contenders in the WBO are Gennady Golovkin and Gennady Martirosyan, and both would be very tough opponents for Jacobs because of their big power. If Golden Boy can have Jacobs avoid those fighters on a permanent basis, then he should be okay. There are still a lot of big threats to Jacobs like Fernando Guerrero and Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam. Those guys are really good, but like Jacobs, we still don’t know how good they are because they still haven’t fought anyone.

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